(Editor's note: The following is the 11th in a series of safe-driving tips from Bob Sharp, a Sherman resident and member of the Sherman Traffic Safety Work Group.)

How is your summer going?

Are you taking advantage of the joys of the open road, perhaps getting a chance to go up to Lime Rock Park to see the professionals drive?

If you do, you will notice one thing they have in common is they all are "smooth" drivers. Being a smooth driver can also result in being a safe driver, and it's a skill you can practice at any speed.

Some of the characteristics of smooth driving include:

Braking or slowing down before a turn, rather than in the middle of the turn, and accelerating out of it.

Taking the proper line through a turn to keep as straight a line as possible, minimize the scrub on your tires and maximize your control.

Selecting the proper gear to keep your engine from lugging (struggling) and maximize your gas mileage.

Anticipating the "line" you'll take around corners and being sure to leave room for an escape route should oncoming traffic drift into your lane (a not infrequent occurrence on some of our narrower two-lane roads).

Only passing other cars when you have plenty of room and can anticipate contingencies about what they or other traffic might do.

Accelerating gradually and, with manual transmissions, changing gears smoothly to save fuel and wear and tear on the drive train.

Driving is fun and is a craft and skill that can always be practiced and improved upon. So, take a new look at your driving habits and see what you can do to brush up on them. And it wouldn't be a Sharp Driving Tip if I didn't end by saying no distractions and no texting while driving.

If you have a question or a suggestion for future Sharp Driving tips, please send it along to me in care of the Sherman Traffic Safety Work Group at SharpsTips@gmail.com.

Bob Sharp was a six-time, Sports Car Club of America national racing champion and IMSA GTU champion with 10 starts and 10 wins; past Nissan and Ferrari-Maserati car dealer; 50 years of selling cars and racing with Paul Newman, Tom Cruise, Walter Payton and his son, Scott Sharp. Bob wants to help future, new and experienced drivers have fun but stay safe in a lifetime adventure in the craft of driving.